With International Conversion Rate Optimization Day (CRODAY) this Thursday, I wanted to share the ROI of video marketing, a tool rapidly taking over the marketing world for its limitless uses and influence over organic traffic to your website. Did you know video marketing has been known to increase conversion up to 300%? Getting started with your first video can be intimidating, but don't worry - we’re here to help guide you with a step-by-step process that any MSP can follow!
So, you’ve decided to venture into the wonderful world of video. Great! Video is an awesome tool to help augment your website’s pages, increase organic traffic and unlock access to a whole new channel in marketing. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Video production comes in 3 stages, Pre-production, Production, and Post-production. Let’s start at the beginning…
This stage is where the ideas are born and put down on paper. So where do you begin?
Strategic Approach vs. Common Approach
The Common Approach to video goes a little something like this:
“Hey, we should make a video. Let’s make a video!” Then you make a video.
While the enthusiasm is dandy and all, there’s no real obtainable goal here. Don’t just make a video for the sake of creating a video. Video is considered by many as a form of content, just like text and image, and should be treated as such. We don’t say “Let’s create text!” or "Let's make an image!" Think of it more like another channel to share content with your audience. So instead, go for the Strategic Approach, which can be something like this:
“Hey, our homepage could use some sprucing up. It needs a quick introduction. Let’s make an introduction video!”
See that? There was something that needed improvement, and the solution was to create a video. So a Strategic Approach to video would be to analyze your existing content, look for improvement and set a goal based on your observations. And no, “to go viral” is not a good goal. While it sounds like a great idea, popularity is not a goal. :(
Once you have a reason to create a video, now’s the time to let those creative juices start flowing. Start with a treatment. This is a quick synopsis of your idea, or the “elevator pitch,” an explanation short enough to tell someone about in an elevator before they reach their destination.
From there, create an outline, which includes a quick description of each scene. Of course, an outline’s length can change depending on the kind of video. For example, if it’s a talking head introducing your company, you could skip the outline, and head straight to:
The script shouldn’t be daunting. It can be something as simple as getting someone’s lines down on a Word document. Just be sure to include all of the necessary components: lines, actions, props and locations. Memorization is key when it comes to speaking to the camera; it makes you look more natural and in the moment. If memorization is a problem (like for me), and you have room in your budget, get a teleprompter! This helps solve the problem with wandering eyes on a cue card.
If you’re just getting started with video, it’s important to note that starting small is essential. Steven Spielberg didn’t become Steven Spielberg overnight. For most beginners, an iPhone or Android is usually enough, and they can take great quality video! If you look below, you’ll see a split screen of two types of cameras. One is a Sony PMW-100 and the other is an iPhone 5. Can you tell which is which? It’s tough, isn’t it?
And no matter how steady your hand is, please use a tripod!
But what’s more important than the camera?
Unfortunately, the overhead lights in your office’s ceiling do a bad job of making you look good on camera. As you can see, they create the ever-despised “raccoon eyes” effect.
Another example to point out in this demonstration is that cameras that are in “full-auto” will set their exposure to the best lit area in the shot. And as you can see, with overhead lights as your lighting, the camera adjusts its exposure to the background, leaving your main subject in the dark. This is relevant if you’re filming your subject in front of a window. The camera will set it’s exposure to the outside, creating a silhouette of your actor.
It’s important to invest in a small lighting kit, and avoid your building’s built-in lights at all costs. You can even use a nearby window for light, and use a Flexfill to bounce light onto the other side of the face. A budget Flexfill could also be used by just using a white poster board. Make sure it’s a clear day when you’re filming! Clouds can be a tricky thing when it comes to lighting continuity. You can learn more about lighting through Wistia’s Learning Center.
The quality of sound can make or break a video. The most important information in a video comes to the audience in the form of audio, so it’s imperative to have that audio be as comprehensible as possible. Having an external mic, whether it be a lavalier mic, a handheld mic or a shotgun mic, can make your audio come in really well. As an example, I’ve recorded two audio tracks at the same time. The first track comes from the camera’s internal microphone, and the second track comes from a lavalier mic clipped to my shirt.
ICK! That first one was almost unbearable…
So as you can see (or hear), while the camera’s internal mic can pick up my voice from far away, it’s also picking up all of the room’s ambience: a computer’s fan, the ventilation system, etc.
Though it may look scary, there are some very easy programs to make your video look great. If you have a Mac, it will come preloaded with iMovie, which is a user-friendly alternative to other editing programs like Final Cut or Adobe Premiere. iPhones even have a surprisingly easy app version of iMovie. If PC is your thing, Windows offers Windows Movie Maker, the PC equivalent to iMovie.
Music is a huge addition to any video and can really energize your piece. Unfortunately, it can’t be just any song due to copyright issues. We use Audiojungle.net, which has a great library of music and it’s only $10-$18 each song. iMovie also has a small library of royalty free music that you can use for free.
Still have questions about editing? Lynda.com is a great teaching website that will give you tutorials and lessons on any computer program.
What Video Hosting Platform to Use
Wistia is an awesome video host that we use here at Continuum. The platform provides engagement analytics and helps boost your video SEO. Additionally, its video player is highly customizable and offers various embed codes, depending on your use for the video - be it a landing page, email campaign, etc. We recently enabled video to appear in a light box on the product page of our new BDR solution, Continuity247, if you'd like to see an example of Wistia's robust video capabilities. Essentially, Wistia's video hosting service was built with marketers in mind!
YouTube is also a great video host. The platform provides engagement analytics like views, comments and shares. As the number two search engine behind Google, leveraging Youtube (owned by Google) is a smart way to gain visibility for your company in search results. Sometimes, however, you have to account for organic traffic being siphoned from your website to Youtube.com. For example, if you give your blog post the same title as your Youtube video, there's a chance people might be compelled to click on the Youtube link because of the visually engaging screenshot image in the preview. See example below:
Which of the first two links are you more likely to click?
If you're worried about losing traffic to your website, make sure your Youtube video or channel drives that traffic back. You can add call-outs with links that pop up during videos or include a URL to your blog in the video description, for instance.
As a business, you might already have a YouTube account. But, like many people, it might be used as a video dumping ground, which is inevitably a place where videos go to die. Building out playlists of your videos can help your videos show up in search results and breathe new life into your YouTube page.Video host runner-up: Vimeo
We know how much time and effort can go into making videos. And we understand your days can be very busy. The great thing is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you create a video. Re-cut, reuse and repurpose already existing videos to suit your needs. Think big, and start small. Best of luck!
Lights, Camera, SOUND….Action!
Have any questions about video? I'm all ears! Comment below with any questions or comments!
Wanna get a feel for how we use video marketing? Check out some of our favorite video blog posts:
By Nate Freedman
By Derek Marin
By Meaghan Moraes